Game rules of Keezen

Aim of the game

The aim is quite simple: be the first one to bring all of your (4) tokens to the home position! In the meantime, do everything in your power to prevent your opponent from bringing all of his tokens home.

Are you playing in teams? Then you can only win when you have brought both all of your own and your teammate′s tokens tokenst to the home position.

How the game is played

Keezen with 4 players is played with 1 deck of cards. You can play by yourself , or in a team of 2 players.

At the start of the game, you decide who deals first. After dealing, the player next to the dealer (clockwise) plays a card. Does the card require an action? Then the player performs this action.

  • If a player has a card he can play, he has to play it. Even if this means capturing one of his own tokens!
  • If a player has no cards he can play, he will have to hand in all of his cards and wait until the next round of cards is dealt.
  • When both players have played all of their cards, the dealer will deal the next round.

Every player counts for 13 cards, so 2 player keezen requres half a deck (26 cards), 6 players 1 and a half deck of cards (78) etc.


  1. One player will be assigned as dealer.
  2. In the first round, the dealer will deal 5 cards per player. In the two following rounds, each player will only receive 4 cards.
  3. When all the cards in the deck have been played, the next player deals. If a player cannot play a card, he has to put his cards away.

Cards and their actions

Please note that the suit is irrelevant.

  • AcePlace a token on the board or move a token one step forwards.
  • KingPlace a token on the board.
  • QueenPlace a token 12 steps forward.
  • JackSwap one of your own tokens with one of the opponent's.
  • SevenMove 1 or 2 tokens 7 steps forwards in total.
  • VierMove a token 4 steps backwards.
  • In all other cases, move one token forwards for the number of steps indicated on the card.

Other rules

Is a token on the starting point? Then it may not be passed or captured. Swapping in case of a jack is not allowed if your token is on its starting point. In other words: the token is untouchable on its own starting point position.

Tokens that are already in the home position may not be passed. Therefore, you need to play the token all the way forward if you want to be able to fit all of your tokens in the home position

Frequently asked questions about keezen

I am two steps in front of my starting point and I'm playing a 4. Am I allowed to pass over my starting point?

I'm playing a 7, there is 1 token on the board. Can I take 7 steps forwards or should I put my cards away?
If you have only 1 token on the board, you may move only 1.

Do I also receive cards when all of my tokens are home?
Yes, if you are playing in a team. You will then play with your teammate's tokens. If you are playing alone, you will have won when all of your tokens are home.

Can I also use the jack if all my tokens are on the starting point?
No, this is not allowed. You may only use the jack if you have at least 1 token on the board (not in the starting point or home position).

Another player has a jack and has a token on my starting point, and swaps his token with mine. Am I allowed to block again?
Yes, you may. When you have a token on the starting point, you block others and cannot be captured. How the token came to be on the starting point is irrelevant.

I am putting my cards away because I cannot do anything. May other players see my cards?
Yes, in fact they have to. Everyone has to be able to see the cards you throw away.

Can I discuss with my teammate when I'm playing in a team?
No, this is not allowed during Keezen and is therefore also not allowed during online Keezen.

My token is 4 steps in front of my starting point and I am taking 4 steps back. Am I blocking others now?
Yes, you are. If you have a token on the starting point, you are blocking others. How the token came to be on the starting point is irrelevant.

My token is 4 steps in front of my starting point and I am taking 4 steps back. Can my token be captured now?
No, this is not allowed. A token on the starting point can never be captured. How the token came to be on the starting point is irrelevant.

One of my tokens is 2 steps in front of my starting point, and one of my other tokens is on the starting point. Am I allowed to pass over my own token with a 4?
In principle, you may pass the starting point. In this case however, there is a token on the starting point which is also blocking you. You may not pass that token, regardless whether you are going forwards or backwards.

Why do you need 2 card decks for Keezen with 8 players and only half a deck for 2 players?
In every game, a dealer deals 13 cards per person in 3 rounds of 5, 4 and 4 cards respectively. A complete card deck consists of 52 cards. For a 2-player game you need 26 cards (half a deck) and for an 8-player game you need 104 cards (2 decks).